WASHINGTON — Rep. Gene Taylor (D-Miss.) has sent letters to BP executive Tony Heyward and Admiral Thad Allen, Commander of the National Incident Command Center, providing a plan to protect the Mississippi Barrier Islands, estuaries and coast from oil reaching the shores.
In a statement, Taylor said, “It has been 50 days since the Deepwater Horizon Oil Rig sank. While BP and the U.S. Coast Guard continue to try and cap the leak, it does not appear as if any coordinated plans are in place to protect the Mississippi Coast from oil.” A former member of the U.S. Coast Guard, Taylor is proposing a multi-layered effort to spot the oil as it approaches Mississippi along with a coordinated response for cleaning it up before it reaches the Mississippi beaches.
This plan was unveiled yesterday in a televised interview on C-Span, and can be viewed at www.taylor.house.gov.
In the letter, Taylor states: “I am concerned that an effective plan is not in place to deploy this equipment (skimming equipment and absorbent boom) before oil impacts Mississippi’s barrier islands, beaches and the Mississippi Sounds…While I appreciate that many more local vessels have been hired through this program (Vessels of Opportunity Program) to observe and report the location of the oil in large part due to Gov. Barbour’s request, hiring more people to report bad news is not enough.”
He goes on to say “if it is BP’s plan to wait for land-based crews to react and begin to mobilize and deploy staged response equipment when oil is approaching their shores, then such a plan is unacceptable. The goal must be to prevent oil from reaching Mississippi’s barrier islands, interior beaches or estuaries. The way to do this is to remove and intercept oil before it gets to us.”